GILBERT O’SULLIVAN – Fairfield Halls, Croydon 23.02.11

To quote the man himself “In a little while from now, if I’m not feeling any less sour I promised myself to treat myself and visit a nearby tower” – or in this case the Fairfield Halls, Croydon for a bit of cheering up. And boy, I couldn’t have chosen a better place along with an audience predominantly constructed from O’Sullivan devotees and one in particular who, if I didn’t know better appeared to be an escapee from the Jeremy Kyle Show constantly hurling the word “Ray” (Gilbert’s real name is Raymond Edward O’Sullivan) so chillingly spat out that I thought she’d die of a heart attack…and most of us wish she would have. Still, onto more pleasant matters and to the man we’d all come to see, Mr O’Sullivan himself. Unmistakeable from the whiff of peroxide that permeated the air, those of a certain age (and I noticed Bobby Davro amongst them) had real cause to celebrate with a thoroughly entertaining two-hour set although, I’m not sure if just uttering the words “1-2-3” before launching into three consecutive songs without acknowledgement to your audience is really the done thing. Still, as devotees we were prepared to wait for the fourth song, the much loved “Nothing Rhymed” and then, all at once the world seemed at peace. Having breathed a collective sigh of relief the assembled throng could rest assured the remainder of the evening would pass by without incident. Surrounding oneself with an eleven-piece ensemble including backing vocalists Nina Ferro & Niamh McNally, the beautiful Stanford string quartet, a wind section (sax/flute/harmonica) in the form of Julian Webster Greaves, Rod Quinn (drums), Nick Scott (bass), Bill Shanley (guitars) and on keyboards and accordion musical director Mick Parker, Gilbert filled the halls with an ever impressive display of musical gymnastics. Several songs from his new CD “Gilbertville” including the amusing “Where would we be (without tea)” were as well received as his earlier material “What’s In A Kiss”, “Ooh Wakka Doo Wakka Day” and the classic “Claire” and to round everything off the samba-styled “Matrimony” and groovy “Get Down” with your man himself energetically jumping on top of his piano (ageism really is a dirty word) he really couldn’t have tried to please the crowd more. So, a resounding ten out of ten for effort and a Spinal Tap eleven for achieving it with such astonishing ease. By the way, hearty congratulations should also go to the sound and lighting crew (including Kevin Sefton) who should be applauded for getting everything right in what can be an at times unforgiving acoustics nightmare. Let’s hope it isn’t light years before Gilbert returns for more of the same.


Artist weblink:

We all give our spare time to run Our aim has always been to keep folking a free service for our visitors, artists, PR agencies and tour promoters. If you wish help out and donate something (running costs currently funded by Paul Miles), please click the PayPal link below to send us a small one off payment or a monthly contribution.